Road trips are a uniquely American tradition. Flying can be very expensive, especially if you plan on taking the entire family. Sometimes driving is the only logical solution. From Jack Kerouac’s On The Road to Hollywood classics like Easy Rider and Thelma and Louise, there’ve been plenty of artful homages to the experience of driving cross country. But, hours and hours of sitting in the same claustrophobic position can be equally exhilarating and PAINFUL. Here are some tips to staying pain free on your summer road trips.
Just like your weekend 5K run or amateur basketball league, your road trip can be physically grueling. So, just as you would before any athletic activity, spend some time to stretch before you hop in the car. Try to stretch your upper body to start with but also work on the thighs and lower back. Then, incorporate more throughout your journey. And when you ‘land’ at your destination, stretch again to prevent any soreness during your vacation. Just like any exercise.
Within America’s intricate highway system are plenty of easy to access (and depart) rest stops. Take advantage of them every couple hours. The best part about them is that they don’t cost any money, take time to go to the bathroom, relax, let your pet out (if you brought one). Sometimes all it takes is a quick jaunt around the parking lot to rejuvenate and relax your aching muscles. While you’re at it, take the opportunity to suck down some water. It’ll help keep everything under your skin good and lubricated.
These days, car seats are almost endlessly adjustable. Make sure your seat is adjusted specifically for you. It should support good posture, that is, a straight spine and relaxed shoulders. If, for some reason, your lower back is not supported, find a pillow, seat cushion or even a rolled up towel to tuck behind you. Your headrest should be square in the middle of the back of your head. If you are going to sleep on the ride, make sure you find a comfortable position that doesn’t put unecessary stress on your neck or back. And, of course, don’t forget to buckle up!
End up somewhere relaxing.
While the trip itself can be a drag, where you end up can certainly help you recover. If you have the opportunity, schedule a massage soon after your arrival. Not only will it help relieve pain endured while in the car, if you know a massage is in store, it’ll ease the mental challenges of a road trip too. You can also try water therapy. Get in a whirlpool if available, or even just take a piping hot shower once you get where you’re going.
Don’t let the fear of pain prevent you from hopping in the car and just driving. You shouldn’t have to deal with pain on your vacation especially. The family sing alongs will already be pain enough for everyone. Drive safe, have fun and stay pain free on your summer road trip.
Advanced Physical Medicine is located on Chicago’s west side. This Oak Park Chiropractic Clinic will leave you pain free and give you the ability to get back to a normal life!